It’s finally time to hit the game tape and look at some of the newest Hurricanes prospects. The Carolina Hurricanes selected left winger Gleb Trikozov 60th overall in the 2022 NHL Draft, a pick that was largely met with praise by fans and pundits alike. Trikozov played for Omskie Yastreby in the MHL, Russia’s top U20 league this past season, putting up 45 points in 35 regular season games as well as 18 points in 13 playoff games. It appears that Trikozov will be back in the MHL this upcoming season, although there is a chance that he sees time in either the KHL or the VHL, Russia’s second-tier men’s league.
Trikozov was ranked in the 21-43 range by most scouting outlets heading into the draft, meaning that the Hurricanes were able to draft a player well after he was supposed to go in the draft. This scouting staff has been notorious for scooping up the high upside players that other teams have passed on in the draft, and this pick was no different.
Trikozov’s Style of Play
From my earliest viewings of Trikozov, I can remember his elite skating and shot standing out. His shot release is lightning fast, getting the speed and power necessary to beat NHL goalies. Trikozov is able to place his shots with perfect accuracy, too. The following clip from a recent preseason game highlights just how good of a shooter Trikozov is.
Now, both are power play goals, so he wouldn’t have had as much time to shoot at even strength. But let’s look at the first goal. Trikozov places a one timer perfectly, with just a bit of space to work with between the goalie and the defenseman. Pinpoint accuracy at its finest. With this next clip, it’s another example of Trikozov’s shooting prowess.
It’s a perfect shot, and one that I could get used to seeing in Raleigh in a few years. Let’s take a look at some clips from my own viewings of the player, now. Trikozov is a smooth, quick skater with the sort of speed that I’d describe as “game changing.” He has the ability to turn on the jets and not look back, gaining separation from defenders and scoring chances, if not goals, in the process.
I'll be tweeting some of my favorite moments from watching Gleb Trikozov for the next little while. First, this highlight reel goal. The puck gets poked off of his stick but he follows the puck and finishes the chance. pic.twitter.com/UrdYS1luUe— Canes Prospects (@CanesProspects) July 14, 2022
Even though the puck gets poked off of Trikozov’s stick, he is able to steal the puck and navigate through two defenders before firing off a perfect shot for a goal. His smooth skating is part of why he is able to be successful here. Trikozov is a wizard with the puck on his stick and can beat defenders in a variety of ways. He’ll lead players with his eyes, change his body language to reflect a pass and then go for a shot, or stickhandle out of trouble. There are a variety of tools in his tool kit that are at his disposal, and he isn’t afraid to use them. This next clip highlights the pure speed that Trikozov (#71 in white) possesses, as well as how it gives him the separation needed to create scoring chances.
Trikozov can absolutely fly. He doesn't score here, but the separation that he is able to create because of his skating is going to translate to the NHL. pic.twitter.com/Ar2KwjO6tt— Canes Prospects (@CanesProspects) July 14, 2022
Trikozov’s vision is also something that has stood out in my viewings of the player. I believe that his goal scoring ability is the true star of his offensive tool kit, but he sees the ice very well and could be a gifted playmaker.
This pass from Gleb Trikozov has given me new life pic.twitter.com/YxyQi7MqVo— Canes Prospects (@CanesProspects) August 1, 2022
Trikozov knows exactly what he’s going to do before he receives the pass. He spots the open teammate with a quick look back, and that’s all it takes. He recognizes the oncoming pressure and quickly moves the puck to his teammate for an easy goal. It’s a fantastic display of hockey sense. Trikozov picks apart the gaps in the defensive coverage and is able to exploit it perfectly. I’m also partial to this next assist, where he makes a power move to the outside and gets a pass off quickly.
This is also a nice assist from Trikozov. The move to get around the defender to create space is a nice piece of work. pic.twitter.com/hbcxn05xPX— Canes Prospects (@CanesProspects) August 1, 2022
These offensive skills make me believe that Trikozov could be a top line player at the NHL level one day. He has the hockey sense, skating, skill and the ability to make decisions at a high pace. Obviously, Trikozov isn’t without flaw. His defensive game needs a lot of work, especially when it comes to plays along the boards. I find that Trikozov can give possession up a little too easily at times, and while I did see growth over the course of the season, he still needs a lot of work. Once he adds another five or ten pounds, he’ll be a more imposing force in the defensive zone. He isn’t moved when players try to hit him, but he doesn’t throw around the body as much as he could. If Trikozov were a little stronger, he’d be able to win puck battles along the boards and disrupt the play in the middle of the ice as well.
The only other “complaint” that I have about Trikozov’s game is that he can disappear a bit at even strength. There are games where he can be a dominant force that is able to impose his will against the opposition, creating chance after chance. Then, there are games where Trikozov can disappear entirely, not really impacting the game in any meaningful way. It usually coincides with games where his effort level can wane. Now, the reason why I don’t sound too concerned about this is because it feels as if the MHL is below Trikozov. He’s a hard worker and it seems that the MHL isn’t posing a challenge to him. So, at least in my eyes, it’s less of an effort issue.
At his best, Trikozov is a game changer. If the Hurricanes get their wish, he’d be a top line forward at best and a solid second-line winger at worst. Trikozov is arguably Carolina’s top forward prospect, with only Noel Gunler possibly being ahead. Trikozov makes the game of hockey look easy and can impact the game in a variety of ways. At his peak, I could see Trikozov being a 60-70 point player at the NHL level. A lot of Trikozov’s development is contingent on how quickly he can get out of the MHL. There are things he can work on in the MHL, but the best course of action for him is to play in a higher league. He’ll play against players that might be better than him, which will force him to adapt and improve his game. If he stays in the MHL, then you run the risk of Trikozov stagnating a little bit.
From what I’ve been able to see, Trikozov has a lot of projectable tools that can get him to the NHL. First, his skating. A player with Trikozov’s skating will have no problem keeping pace in the NHL. Secondly, his hockey sense. Trikozov is smart and assesses a variety of options in an instant, choosing the best one and executing perfectly. This will help Trikozov gain an advantage to play in the NHL because there is even less time to make a decision when you get to that level. Trikozov’s ability to think on his feet (skates?) will help carry him to the NHL. Finally, his pure offensive ability will be an asset. As we’ve seen with prospects such as Dominik Bokk, you can’t make it to the NHL on skill alone. That’s why it’s third on this list. Trikozov will be able to score in bunches at the NHL level and should be able to rack up a fair amount of assists as well. From what I’ve seen from Trikozov, there’s an elite element to his game that you don’t often see in players drafted 60th overall. It may take three or four years for Trikozov to make it to the NHL, but when he does, it’ll be an exciting time for Hurricanes fans.
By the way, I’m currently working on a massive project. It’ll be a full Carolina Hurricanes system overview, complete with video, notes and analysis on 50+ players outside of the main Hurricanes roster. It’ll include every drafted player both signed and unsigned, players on two way deals and a few players on AHL contracts with Chicago. It’s easily the biggest project that I’ve undertaken, so I’m excited to bring it to you all sometime before September 1.